Another Holiday season has arrived and with it, another entry into the Call of Duty series. Advanced Warfare is the first outing for developer Sledgehammer Games, and with the lackluster gaming community support of last year’s Ghosts, expectations were high. They did not disappoint.
Visually, Advanced Warfare looks great. It has really pleasant use of vibrant colors and shading that gives each map life. The clean, futuristic look creates an atmosphere and setting for the game, giving it context without the need to be told what year it is; I know this is the future. Character models look very nice and are animated well. It’s always fun to watch someone ragdoll as they get shot out of the air.
Speaking of being in the air, the boost jumping mechanic was something that worried me before I got to play. In most other games that have the ability to use a jetpack or something similar, it feels sluggish and slow to use, but that is definitely not the case in Advanced Warfare. Movement in this game is quick and responsive. You really feel like the boosting is a part of your character instead of some piece of added equipment. As you move around the maps, jumping and boosting around, you grab onto ledges and pull yourself up quickly, which really adds to the flow of the movement. These mechanics lend well to both the gameplay and map design.
The maps are very stylized both atmospherically and aesthetically. Each location feels different from the last and have a depth to them that feels new to the series. The added mobility of the players is nicely accented with buildings and platforms of various heights that allow for creative play for any type of player. For everyone from the run ‘n’ gun style players or snipers; the level design coupled with the boosted jumps and movement make you feel like everyone has a decent chance to get in a good, fair kill.
But what’s a good kill without good weapons? And Advanced Warfare has plenty of good weapons. Weapons feel balanced and evenly matched; no gun feels too over powered or cheap. The design of the weapons themselves range from your average SMG and Assault Rifle fare to something more closely resembling science fiction. So far, hit detection seems to be pretty spot on and has very little of that “I swear I was already behind that wall when I died” feel that Call of Duty has been plagued by for years.
As far as the online experience itself goes, I have had absolutely no server issues at all so far. Connections have been completely solid and that’s a pretty big feat considering all of the server and connectivity issues that other blockbuster titles have experienced in the last couple of years. Also, management of your clan and party members seems to be easier now more than ever. Custom loadouts in Advanced Warfare are more reminiscent of Black Ops II this time around and that’s a good thing. You get 13 customization slots instead of 10 now and you have added abilities in the Exo Suit like a temporary shield or faster movement.
Playing Advanced Warfare is like hopping on a new bike: it rides just like you remember, except there are way more bells and whistles and none of them feel useless. To everyone worried that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare would be just as lame as Ghosts: rejoice. AW feels more like a sequel to Black Ops II than Ghosts. But the real question is: Is this game fun? So far, yes. It’s very fun. It retains that addiction and rewarding feeling that kept you coming back to the older CoD titles with plenty of upgrades and character customization.
If you loved Call of Duty multiplayer in the past, give Advanced Warfare a try. It truly feels like the first real next-gen CoD experience.
I'm a 28 year old husband, father of 3, Christian DJ, PlayStation fanboy, and retro video game collector from Chesapeake, VA.
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